Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty and Full (06/04/09)
TITLE: The "Jireh" Jars
By Donna Powers
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He’d known Anna and her husband, Obadiah for some time. Obadiah had been a godly man who’d served in the temple. Temple work did not pay much, and Obadiah hadn’t always been able to provide adequately for his family. Recently, he’d borrowed against the upcoming harvest. Unfortunately, Obadiah had also recently died. When he died, he’d left his family penniless.
Even worse than penniless: his creditor wanted payment now. Since Anna couldn’t pay, the creditor claimed his legal right to take Anna’s two sons as slaves. Anna was heartbroken. If this should happen, she would she have lost her husband and sons – as well as her only hope of future income.
She had next to nothing. What could Elisha do? The temple community was as poor as Obadiah had been; they couldn’t help. Appealing to the creditor would avail Anna nothing; he was not a merciful man.
Now Anna wept piteously in Elisha’s parlor. “My husband served Jehovah with everything he had. Obadiah always told us God will use whatever we have and provide for us. Must He provide with my sons?” Her eyes were filled with despair and pleading.
Elisha’s mind quickened. What was that she’d said? ‘God will use whatever we have…’ Elisha asked her: “What do you have in your home?” “Jewelry? Linens? Coins? Precious oils?”
“All I have is a small amount of temple oil. I have already sold everything else to try to pay our debt. The oil is worth a few coins, but that will not pay our debt.”
Somewhere within him was a fleeting idea. It seemed improbable, and he knew the idea had not come from him. He had learned to trust these ideas; they usually came from God.
“Anna, I want you to go to your neighbors. Borrow some jars – as many as you can. Take them to your home. I will go and wait for you there.” Anna looked at him with confusion, but at this point, she had nothing to lose.
As Elisha walked toward Anna’s home, he besought God: “Lord, thank You for showing me the way. Please use this to show Anna Your faithfulness.” Elisha continued to pray as Anna and her sons gathered jugs and placed them in Anna’s parlor. When Anna was done, Elisha told her: “Now, pour the oil into the jugs. It will fill them all.”
Anna couldn’t have been more surprised if she’d seen Obadiah emerge from his burial place. “Fill them all? This small amount of oil will fill not even one.”
“Anna, Obadiah told you the truth: if you are willing for God to use whatever you have He will not fail to use it to provide for you.”
She glanced amazedly at the small amount of oil and shrugged. If she must give up the last of her resources, she would; she would certainly not be worse off. Quickly; before she changed her mind: she upended her jar and began to pour the oil into the first of her neighbors’ jugs.
Within minutes, the empty jug was soon filled.
Anna blinked. How could this be? She still had oil in her jar; as much as she had had at the start. She looked at Elisha; perhaps he had an explanation. But Elisha was deep in prayer. So, once again she poured.
The second jar was soon filled. After this, Anna ceased to doubt. She poured and poured and kept on pouring; until every jar in the parlor was filled. When all the jars were full, her original jar was then empty. It had completely filled every jar she’d gathered. Now she had enough oil to not only pay her creditor - but to support her family until harvest time.
Anna wept in gratitude. “How did you know what to do?” she asked.
“I didn’t,” Elijah answered. “I only know that God has once again shown us He is our faithful provider: Jehovah Jireh.* He has come to your rescue. If you continue to trust and serve him as you have in the past and today, He will never fail you.”
Anna was convinced. “I shall never doubt His faithfulness again.”
“That is all I could ask. Go in peace and continue to trust Him.”
based on 2 Kings 4:1-7
*Jehovah Jireh: “God our provider”
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